Aboard the Nursing Spaceship: Server Room Geekery

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I’ve mentioned before that my husband tells people I’m a Star Trek Nurse. Up until today I merely laughed at this description. Clearly he has no idea what a clinical informatics specialist does. Right?

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Then today I crossed the threshold between casual nerd and full on geek.

I entered the server room and was overwhelmed with nerdy glee.

How I Got To the Server Room

I first need to tell you that we didn’t just randomly take a stroll through the server room. There was a darn good reason we had to go in there. When I got to work this morning, I found one of our EMR programs to be completely down. We’re talking off. We’re talking do not pass go, do not collect $200, cause you ain’t documenting on no patients today…. BROKE.

I’m new. Like incredibly green, wet behind the ears, don’t know nothing ’bout nothing, new. I’m fumbling around doing my best, poking at tickets, reading, shadowing, and attempting to get my cubicle broke in. A broken server?!?! EEK!

Doing Some Clinical Applicatin’

I filed a claim, got on the phone, and started doing my very best to work the issue. Did I happen to mention that I was like 20 minutes early and all alone. There wasn’t really anyone I could call or anything I could do until my boss just happened to stroll up. Was so glad he did! We got on it and go on it good.

After tying to remotely reset the server we determined there was a need to venture into the hardware wonderland and do some good old fashioned button pushing. Along the way my boss had a grand ol’ time telling everyone that on my 2nd week I broke the server. Oh gosh, I would just DIE if I had actually broken it! I was excited to be apart of the process of fixing a HUGE issue.

The Server Room

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The glass windowed door only hinted at the geekery that lie behind the password encrypted door. The computers that made the hospital function sit inside this room. The information on thousands of patients sit in this room. The lives of people depend on the data behind this secure door.

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We walked inside and I felt a rush of cool air coming from the floor. The sound of fans and processing filled the room. Rows and rows of tall black cases filled with data processing power fill a room that appears massive to me. If I were Marilyn Monroe, my dress would have surely been flying up with the air coming up from vents under the towers. There were tiles in the floor at what appeared to be random intervals that were transparent. Under us were miles and miles of cable. We were walking on top of massive amounts of data being transferred.

I was reminded of so many science fiction movies with command centers and hyper-drives in the spaceship that looked like this. It was also reminded of when 1 single computer filled an entire room and did only the most basic of computations. No we filled a room with hundreds and hundreds of computers and process mind-boggling amounts of data.

Maybe my husband was right all along?

Maybe I really am a Star Trek Nurse?

Straight out of a Movie

I am not exaggerating when I say that it was like something out of a movie. But such is life with the art imitating life and life imitating art cycle we have going. It was one of the many times I thought to myself, someone has to be watching me somewhere. My reaction to this room had to be a form of entertainment for someone. I mean the “wows” and “this is so cool” got a few giggles, but I know it had to have been oddly amusing. I know its odd… I know, but at least I own my weirdness.

I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a space ship of some sort and we were traveling to some alien planet…


Maybe it wasn’t that awe-inspiring… but it was pretty cool!

Statue of David

I admit, even though I worked at Circuit City for 4 years, I still get a rush going into a consumer electronics store. The Apple Store and Best Buy give me a burst of endorphins that would rival any substance. And don’t even get me started about what nerdy euphoria CES was! I’m already excited about CES 2012 and it’s 4 months away!

I’m a simple girl. It don’t take much to excite me. Give me a room full of servers and I night as well have viewed the statue if David. It was just that impressive to me.

I love technology and get excited about it.

Clinical Applications and EMR Fit me

Today was just another confirmation that this I have chosen the right path in my career. I was meant to be a nurse so that I can help people. I am meant to help people by improving their healthcare through informatics. I am meant to protect this data.

talk nerdy to meMy love for technology and patient advocacy will be put to good use in this role. I know that not every day will be a nerdy adventure in server resetting, DNS mapping, and software loading, and I am glad for that. But I also know that everyday I will have the chance to improve the workflow of hundreds of doctors and nurses. I will help the not-for-profit hospital to keep more money within the community. I will help to improve documentation and make the information collected usable in a meaningful way.

The nerdy nursing thing, I get it. I really get it.

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6 thoughts on “Aboard the Nursing Spaceship: Server Room Geekery”

  1. Greg Mercer, MSN

    Reading, I could imagine the 2001 theme song, as Nerdy Nurse approached the monolith…. the server. Clarke said tech advanced enough beyond oneself is effectively magic, so I’d say, from my caveman user perspective, that you entered a world of it – a magic realm. Truly pushing the envelope, finding new frontiers for Nursing. Cool….
    Also as a user, I can agree – you IT folks can make or break Nursing functions – I deal with some of the worst crap posing as software and hardware i ‘ve ever seen anywhere, sadly in hospitals, so I’m glas folks like you are out there trying to make ii better for the rest of us. We need people that care, as opposed to those just buying thoughtlessly in to get credit for going EMR. We need more Nerdy Nurses, we really do!

  2. LOL!!! What happened???? Our background jobs never just go down?? We had a montly re-boot in the am. The server room…is just a room full of servers and hardware that makes everything play well together.

  3. This is an angle of nursing that wasn’t really touched on much at my nursing school, but then again they wanted us to all go straight to grad school and become NPs so we could give the school more money 🙂

    Very cool to see behind the scenes. It’s a HUGE deal when the computer charting goes down unexpectedly, so from a bedside nurse perspective, I’d say your work is very important!

    1. It wasn’t touched on AT ALL in my nursing school. In my ADN classes, they were mostly concerned with failing out as many people as possible to make sure they would keep their 95% pass rate on the NCLEX. The people who would have made the best nurses were failed for petty things and fractions of points… sadly a lot of nursing school is about money and politics.
      My BSN experience was much better. I felt like the cared and wasn’t just a piece of nursing student cattle.

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